NFL Betting Predictions: Week 5 Opening Line Report and Picks
Now that we are through four weeks, this is usually when we may start to see head coaches and/or coordinators fired. Owners/general managers like to give their coaches at least a month - a quarter of the season - before making any decisions.
I believe the New York Jets could be on the verge of making a move on Todd Bowles. Everything was peachy with Gang Green in Week 1 when they slaughtered the Lions in Motown, but now we know that Detroit isn't very good. Since then, the Jets haven't topped 17 points - they have scored only 29 points in the nine quarters since their 31-point third quarter in Week 1 -- and Sam Darnold appears to be regressing.
The No. 3 overall pick threw for just 169 yards and completed only 48.4 percent of his passes in the Week 3 loss in Cleveland. In Sunday's 31-12 defeat in Jacksonville, Darnold was 17 of 34 for 167 yards with a TD and at least wasn't intercepted. The offense looks lost under coordinator Jeremy Bates, which means he's not likely being promoted on an interim basis should Bowles get the gate. The Jets offense has burned seven timeouts in non-two-minute situations and has committed seven false-start penalties. That's just poor coaching. Bates said faulty headsets have contributed to some of the wasted timeouts. Yeah, whatever.
Bates completely abandoned the run game Sunday against what's probably the NFL's best pass defense. Bates called deep passes on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 on consecutive plays in the second quarter. In the third quarter on a third-and-1, he called another pass play out of an empty backfield, so the Jaguars didn't even have to worry about a running play.
Sure seemed like receiver Quincy Enunwa threw his coaching staff under the bus when he was asked afterward about the offense's slow start Sunday as New York didn't score until the third quarter: "I think we expected one thing and got another. I don't call the plays. I don't know."
New York does get a bit of a break in Week 5 as it hosts Denver, which will be on a short week. The Broncos hosted the Chiefs on Monday night. The Jets opened at -1 but that line could change depending on what happens in the Chiefs-Broncos matchup. Here are some Week 5 early lines that caught my eye. I won't touch on Thursday's game (Colts-Patriots), my in-depth Sunday matchup (most likely Vikings-Eagles) or the Monday night game (Redskins-Saints) as I will be previewing them here individually.
Titans at Bills (+3.5, 39): I have no earthly idea how the Titans are 3-1 as I don't think they are very good. All three wins came down to the wire; Sunday, it was 26-23 over the visiting Eagles in overtime. Marcus Mariota hit Corey Davis on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining in the OT to get Tennessee off to its best start since 2013. It was a ballsy call by first-year coach Mike Vrabel because it was a fourth-down play. Vrabel originally had kicker Ryan Succop on the field but called a timeout and pulled him off. Mariota threw for 344 yards and two scores and rushed for another. He led the team in rushing - that's why I don't think the Titans have staying power, because they aren't running the ball well. Derrick Henry hasn't topped 57 yards yet and was held to 24 on eight carries Sunday. Buffalo's Josh Allen had a really nice game in his team's Week 3 upset of Minnesota but reminded everyone he's a raw rookie on Sunday in a 22-0 loss in Green Bay - Buffalo's first time being shut out since 2008. Allen finished 16 of 33 for 151 yards and two interceptions. The Bills had only 145 total yards (fewer than Allen's total due to sacks), their fewest since 2006. The pick: Bills & "under."
Dolphins at Bengals (-5.5, 49.5): Miami clearly was a 3-0 fluke as it was pounded Sunday at New England, 38-7. The Dolphins' only score came with 2:42 left in the game. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 100 yards with a pick. The Fins were 3-for-11 on third down and finished with 172 total yards. There was a bit of history made as Miami's Frank Gore became the eighth running back in NFL history to appear in 200 NFL games. You know who somewhat quietly is having a big season? Cincinnati's Andy Dalton. He threw for 337 yards and three scores, including the winner to AJ Green with seven seconds left in the Bengals' wild 37-36 victory in Atlanta on Sunday. Giovani Bernard ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns - he's getting a lot of playing time with Joe Mixon out due to knee surgery. Mixon likely will miss another week. The Bengals got some bad news, though, as excellent but injury-prone tight end Tyler Eifert suffered a gruesome ankle injury that ends his season. He has played in just 14 games over the past three years due to injuries. One wonders if this one causes him to hang up the cleats. The pick: Bengals.
Cowboys at Texans (-3.5, 45.5): The Sunday night game. I believe that Houston's Bill O'Brien might have been fired Sunday evening if his team blew Sunday's game in Indianapolis as it looked poised to do. The Texans were up 28-10 in the third quarter and still up eight with less than a minute to go in regulation. The only reason Houston got away with a 37-34 overtime win - the team's first victory since last Nov. 19 -- is because of a horrible decision to go on fourth down in OT by Colts coach Frank Reich. We'll talk more about that in Thursday's Indy-New England preview. The Cowboys also nearly gave one away, blowing a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead at home vs. the Lions but winning 26-24 on Brett Maher's 38-yard field goal as time expired. Ezekiel Elliott had a big game with 152 yards rushing and 88 yards and a TD on four catches. It's just the fifth all-time regular-season meeting between the Texas teams (they do play annually in the preseason). The pick: Texans.
Want free NFL picks? Doc's has you covered. New clients can take advantage of this great offer of $60 in free Doc's Sports members' picks for any handicapper on Doc's Expert Handicapper list. Just check out these guys' pages and see what great work they have done making money for themselves and their clients over the years. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free . Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details . Get free NFL picks weekly on Doc's Sports free football picks page.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of this Weeks NFL picks
Get all of this Weeks Guaranteed Expert NFL Picks